The Kiwi dairy farmers-turned hemp growersNovember 11th, 2019
Raised by his grandparents on a dairy farm, on the South Island’s West Coast, Aaron has been milking cows since he was six years old. For the past few years, Aaron and his partner Sarah have been converting more and more of their land to grow hemp to fuel their budding hemp-product business, Larrys Gold.
It all stemmed from Aaron’s research into eating for health and wellness back in 2013, which led him to eating plant-based. Aaron had never felt better, he was hooked. When he met partner Sarah a few years later, he convinced her to give it a go too. A former personal trainer, Sarah had always been led to believe that you need to get your protein from lean meats and poultry, so she did her own research and then put it to the test. “I got fitter, faster and stronger with less training and just felt so much better. The mind becomes much clearer and you have so much more energy.”
After two years dating Aaron, Sarah gave up her job in the bank to work on the dairy farm. That’s when her food choices became more than just about her health and Aaron and Sarah made the decision to work to provide a healthy, environmentally sustainable product, that didn’t exploit animals.
“It really opened my eyes up to what the cows have to go through, in order to produce milk.”
That’s when hemp came into the picture. They discovered that hemp is the world’s most nutrient dense plant, that it absorbs more CO2 per hectare than other commercial crops, that the entire plant – from root to tip – has tens of thousands of uses.
“Hemp ticks all those boxes and is a plant that we are both extremely passionate about. Meat and dairy is not good for human health and we need more good quality, organic, fresh produce made available. You can grow more food per hectare which means the more we produce, the more affordable it is for those who really need good quality fresh fruits and vegetables. In turn this means farmers are not pushing their land or animals too hard in order to produce enough milk solids to survive financially.”
But Aaron and Sarah’s journey doesn’t end there. There is still some growing to do before they can convert 100 percent to a plant-based business. “Financially, dairy farming is very hard and because we are young and have debt we don’t want to borrow anymore so we are taking things slow with the hemp because we have no other choice than to take it slow.”
“We are in it for the long haul and hopefully as more people hear about us and understand our story and how passionate we are about the animals, human health and the environment that our business will be supported so we can make the full transition.”